Time to get your red, white and blue on. The U.S. celebrates it 240th birthday Monday, and parades are clearly the preferred method of celebrating. Baltimore County offers four parades to choose from: Dundalk's starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Logan Village Shopping Center, 3409 Dundalk Ave. (dundalkheritagefair.com), followed by Towson's at 10:30 a.m. (corner of Bosley and Burke avenues, towsonparade.com), Arbutus' at 12:30 p.m. (corner of Oregon Avenue and Elm Road, 410-242-1143 for info) and Catonsville's at 3 p.m. (Frederick Road and Montrose Avenue, catonsvillecelebrations.org). Other area parades include Annapolis (6:30 p.m., Amos Garrett Boulevard and West Street, visitannapolis.org) and Bel Air (6 p.m., Idelwild and South Main Street, belairjuly4.org). Westminster has an old-fashioned July 4 celebration set for 2 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St. ($4-$10, free for kids 9 and under, carrollcountyfarmmuseum.org), while Columbia's Fourth of July celebration begins at 5 p.m. at the town center, 10221 Wincopin Circle on the shores of Lake Kittamaqundi (columbiaassociation.org). Monday night, of course, the big kahuna of area fireworks displays should begin around 9:30 p.m. at Baltimore's Inner Harbor (promotionandarts.org).
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra plays outdoors, and gets all patriotic — with fireworks. Betya they play "The 1812 Overture." 8 p.m. today and Monday at Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road. $9-$20. Bsomusic.org.
Outdoor Film Festivals open
Baltimore's outdoor movie scene kicks into high gear this week, with Sound Garden's Films on the Pier series opening at dusk Wednesday with "Star Wars, Episode 7: The Force Awakens," from the Fells Point Pier at the foot of Broadway (facebook.com/FilmsOnThePier), and the American Visionary Art Museum's "Flicks From the Hill" series starting at 9 p.m. Thursday with "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," visible from the east side of Federal Hill, Key Highway and Covington Street (avam.org).
Friends of Fort McHenry Crab Feast
Steamed crabs and BBQ, plus libations from Heavy Seas Brewery and Atlantic Wines. All with the fort that saved America as your backdrop. Eat, and feel good about your history. 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday at Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, 2400 E. Fort Ave. $45-$75. friendsoffortmchenry.org.
Fans of "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" will be coming to Baltimore in droves next weekend for this annual gathering of the Brony faithful — the largest in the world! 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. $75-$125 for an all-convention pass, $30-$45 per day. bronycon.org.
Nights on the Fringe
Welcome to 21st-century vaudeville – one stage, two nights of a little bit of everything, including dance, puppetry, acrobatics, film, theater, sideshow acts and who-knows-what-else. The hits just keep on coming. 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturdayat Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. $17, $30 for a two-night pass. charmcityfringe.com
Greece's favorite export. 8 p.m. Friday at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. $35-$116. lyricbaltimore.com.
Merryland Music Fest
Two sets from the String Cheese Incident, plus music from Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Grace Potter, Lotus, Stephen "Ragga" Marley — 17 acts in all. A merry time in Maryland, indeed. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway. $125-$599. merrylandmusicfest.com.
Baltimore/DC One Caribbean Carnival
Enjoy the sounds and spirit of the Caribbean in Clifton Park this weekend (it's a lot cheaper than flying there!). Begins at noon Saturday with a colorful-in-the-extreme parade from 900 E. 33rd St. to Clifton Park, entering via St. Lo Drive. The festival itself runs from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday in the park, 2701 St. Lo Dr. $15. baltimorecarnival.com.